Game Council New South Wales
|Statutory authority overview|
|Dissolved||4 July 2013|
|Superseding agency||NSW Game Board|
|Jurisdiction||New South Wales|
|Minister responsible||Katrina Hodgkinson,
Minister for Primary Industries
|Statutory authority executive||Brian Boyle, Chief Executive|
|Parent department||Department of Primary Industries|
|Key document||Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002|
Game Council New South Wales was a statutory authority of the Government of New South Wales established in 2002 pursuant to the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 ('the Act'), subject to the control and direction of the Minister for Primary Industries. On 4 July 2013 the Minister for Primary Industries announced the dissolution of the statutory authority following a review of governance of the Council by the NSW Government.
The aim of the Game Council was to provide for the effective management of introduced species of game animals, as well as promoting responsible and orderly hunting of those game animals on public and private land and of certain pest animals on public land.
However, the review of governance, completed by retired public servant, Steve Dunn, found that:
"more than a decade after it was established the Game Council has no overarching governance framework; lacks a strategic planning framework; lacks some of the skills, tools and resources to ensure effective compliance with its regulatory framework; has no internal regulatory compliance program, has no approved enterprise-wide risk management framework and has an inadequate policy framework".
Immediately after releasing the recommendations of the review, the government announced the abolition of the Game Council; replaced by an appointed advisory body, the New South Wales Game Board; and the regulatory aspect of the Council transferred to the Department of Primary Industries.
Functions and scope
The Game Council was established as a result of legislative pressure exerted by the Shooters Party, when it held the balance of power in the Legislative Council of New South Wales. Shooter's MP Robert Brown was instrumental in the formation of the legislation.
The Act specified a range of functions for the Game Council centred on administering the game hunting licensing system, representing the interests of game hunters, making recommendations and providing advice to the Minister on game and feral animal control, liaising with other stakeholders in managing game and feral animals, promoting and funding research into game and feral animal control issues and engaging in such other activities relating to the objects of the Act as are prescribed by the regulations.
An annual Public Benefit Assessment was conducted, based on survey data from licence holders, that reported the Game Council's activities as a community service and as a cost-effective method of achieving its natural resource management objectives, specifically game and feral animal control. In 2009-10, there was an increase in public benefit reported.
In May 2012, supported by the Game Council, the NSW Government announced plans to allow pest control by licenced individuals to help control pest animals in selected national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas. The Game Council was to play a role as both the licencing agency and as the regulating agency. The proposal generated significant community resistance, and was subjected to a campaign from its opponents in an environment where a group of hunters were shooting at kangaroos in a national park camping ground – an illegal act – and the hunting of native animals close to metropolitan areas,
In January 2013 it was reported that two of the staff of the Game Council, including the council's communications manager and acting chief executive, Greg McFarland, were suspended from work by the Minister as police investigated allegations that McFarland hunted on private property near Cobar without permission, in a Game Council-owned vehicle. Police charged McFarland with a raft of offences including hunting without permission, possessing a prohibited weapon in a nature reserve and firing a firearm onto enclosed lands. The other staff member was found to have been in Sydney at the time of the incident and was exonerated by police.
- Nicholls, Sean (4 July 2013). "Game Council to be abolished". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Norris, Andrew (4 July 2013). "Game over as hunting suspended". The Land. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Manson, Skye; Herbert, Lisa; Owens, Angela (5 July 2013). "NSW Government abolishes Game Council". ABC Rural (Australia). Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Hunters urged to read Game Council report". ABC News (Australia). 5 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Environment scorecard" (PDF). Game Council of New South Wales. Government of New South Wales. 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- O'Farrell, Barry (30 May 2012). "Game and Feral Animal Control Act" (PDF). Premier of New South Wales (Press release). Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Young, Matt (10 April 2013). "National Park users worried about being shot by stray bullets from hunters". news.com.au. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "National Parks Association welcomes changes to hunting program" (Press release). National Parks Association of New South Wales. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Brown, Bill (17 August 2012). "Horrific wildlife shooting in NSW National Park". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Patty, Anna (6 August 2012). "Recreational hunting in national parks under fire after joey shot by stray arrow". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 July 213.
- Aston, Heath (28 January 2013). "Game Council told police of illegal hunt claim". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 July 213.
- "Police charge Game Council boss". news.com.au. AAP. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Dunn, Steve; Corrigan, Steve; Watkinson, Russell (14 June 2012 (sic.)). "Governance Review of the Game Council of NSW" (PDF). Independent Consulting. Game Council of New South Wales. Retrieved 8 July 2013.